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HARI MERDEKA 2019

31 August 2019




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Sunday, June 29, 2014

WHY WE ARE SEEING PROBLEMS WITH MUSLIMS IN MALAYSIA

mt2014-corridors-of-power
What you see happening in Malaysia today is what is happening all over the world in many Muslim countries. The only difference is in some of the other Muslim countries it has advanced to an armed revolt and/or civil war while in Malaysia we have not reached that stage yet.
THE CORRIDORS OF POWER
Raja Petra Kamarudin
The three Semitic religions or Abrahamic faiths are religions of extremism. Since the last couple of hundreds of years, mainly since the 1800s, Christianity has been neutralised somewhat so its extremism is not so visible. For Judaism and Islam, though, they have not yet been ‘neutered’ as Christianity was. Hence we still see these two Abrahamic faiths fighting each other tooth and nail, especially in Palestine.
As I said in earlier articles, the rise of secularism in Europe in the 1800s, and following that, nationalism, managed to reduce and in some instances eliminate the power of the church. To understand this subject further would require a thesis so I will not be able to go into this matter in too much detail in this article.
I would recommend those who have an interest in the subject (plus the time) to take the course, ‘Age of Revolution’, offered by Oxford University. It will open your mind to what really happened 200 years ago and why we saw WWI and WWII and why the world is what it is today.
This three-month course will also help you understand why the three major Empires (the Holy Roman, Hapsburg and Ottoman Empires) broke up and which saw the creation of many new countries in Europe and the Middle East. You can also read the following books if taking courses is not your cup of tea:
1) Rapport, M., Nineteenth Century Europe [2005], Palgrave, Basingstoke
2) Sperber, J., Revolutionary Europe, 1780-1850 [2000]. Longman, Harlow
I can suggest dozens of other books but those two are recommended by Oxford so you can start with those if you want. You can buy them through Amazon if Malaysian bookstores do not carry them. I am not sure whether you can read them on Kindle because I have not checked yet.
If you want to understand developments in just the Middle East, in particular why the Middle East has been in turmoil for the last 100 years, you should read up on the Sykes–Picot Agreement, officially known as the Asia Minor Agreement. This was a secret agreement between the United Kingdom and France, with the assent of Russia, on how the Ottoman Empire should be broken up into many smaller countries that the west can control.
The only difference here is, when they broke up Europe into many smaller countries 100 years earlier, they also demolished the power of the church and ‘replaced’ Christianity with secularism and nationalism. However, when they broke up the Middle East, they did not ‘disturb’ Islam.
What the west wanted was just the oil in the Middle East. So they left Islam alone. The Middle East was allowed its ‘radical’ Islam as long as the west could get its hands on the oil, which they needed to rebuild Europe after the devastation of WWI. Hence the west did not care too much how radical Islam became just as long as the oil continued to flow to the west.
The ‘mistake’ the west made was when they demolished the Ottoman Empire they did not also demolish the power of the ‘church, like they did in Europe in the 1800s. Hence although the Islamic empire may have been demolished, they did not also demolish the spirit of the Islamic empire. Muslims, not just in the Middle East but also all over the world, still dream of the re-emergence of an Islamic empire.
Even Malaysian Muslims refer to themselves as ‘ummah Islam’ or the Islamic community. No one is even sure what ISIL means, the current ‘troublemakers’ in the Middle East. But it could easily mean Iraq, Syria, Iran and Libya — the new Islamic federation or empire that will emerge if the Sunnis manage to defeat the Shias — and which would eventually swallow up Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Yemen, etc., if the rebels win the civil war.
The fundamentalist Christians view secularism as the enemy of Christianity, even in the US and the UK. The only thing is the fundamentalist Christians are in the minority while the secularists control politics. In Islamic countries it is the other way around. The fundamentalists outnumber the secularists, even in Malaysia. And this is why we see more problems with fundamentalists in countries that have a more than 50% Muslim population, Malaysia included.
What you see happening in Malaysia today is what is happening all over the world in many Muslim countries. The only difference is in some of the other Muslim countries it has advanced to an armed revolt and/or civil war while in Malaysia we have not reached that stage yet.
Nevertheless, the sentiments of some of the Malaysian Muslims was what the sentiments of the Muslims in the other Muslims countries was, say, 30 or 40 years ago.
Soon after the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, a delegation from Iran came to Malaysia and when asked by the press what they were doing in Malaysia, they replied that they were in Malaysia to ‘export’ the Iranian revolution to Malaysia.
Malaysia, today, is what Iran was 30 or 40 years ago, said the Iranians. In 30 or 40 years from now, added the Iranians, Malaysia will be what Iran is today. It is only a matter of time when Malaysian Muslims will rise and reject secularism and replace it with an Islamic system of government.
I have read many comments from readers rubbishing history and commenting that history is about the past and they care very little about the past. Well, those who ignore history are doomed to repeat the mistakes made in the past. And if you do not know where you came from how would you know where to go?
In the 19th century we saw a new Europe being born from the ashes of the Christian empire. In the 20th century we saw a new Middle East being born from the ashes of the Islamic empire. In this century we are going to see a clash of civilisations — war between the secular west and Islamic east. The problem is the west is motivated by greed while the east is motivated by doctrine. And normally, as history has proven, doctrine wins over greed.
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